Lemon and Poppyseed Meringue Cake

True story. A long time ago, I bought a blowtorch not so I could caramelise petit creme brulees, but so I could take to whole cakes with it.

When I wield the torch, I am Martha Rambo Stewart, applying a burnish to my cake with tightlipped concentration. In 2008 : A Baking Odyssey, I am the ape in a gingham apron, arms raised at the spectre of the monolithic blowtorch.

Cake is good, my friends. And fire? Fire is a beautiful thing.

It all started with the urge to make lemon curd, and eventually morphed into a lemon meringue cake, slathered with said lemon curd, lightened with some whipped cream. In case you’re wondering, yes, that is an excessively large cake. I accidentally made it one tier too tall than what I had intended. Once it was cut up, I got the boy to do the rounds of our apartment block, pressing plates of cake into neighbours’ hands. Luckily there were some takers, or we would still be eating the same cake, one week later.

My favourite lemon curd recipe comes courtesy of a pastry chef I once worked for. Amongst many other things I learnt from him, he taught me the best and foolproof (for me) way of making this luscious lemon curd. For something a little different, you can even substitute the lemon juice with yuzu, that rather special and very aromatic Japanese citrus fruit. Here in Sydney, bottled yuzu juice can be obtained at considerable expense, from Simon Johnson. Once you’ve tried it though, believe me, you’ll understand what all the fuss is about (and will subsequently manage to forget how much you paid for it).

Lemon curd :

finely grated zest of 3 lemons
160g lemon juice
4 eggs (should yield about 200g, once cracked)
240g sugar
300g cold unsalted butter, cubed

Mix the first four ingredients together well and place in a saucepan. Over low heat, cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Take the pan off the heat and gradually whisk in the cubes of butter, bit by bit. When all the butter has been incorporated, strain the mixture, chill over ice and then refrigerate, covered.


  1. Courtney said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 2:12 am

    you have just stolen my heart, it looks wonderful!!

  2. Cakelaw said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 10:24 am

    Phwoar, I need a piece of this cake – now!!!! Lemon meringue is one of my fave desserts, so in a cake form – it’s heaven.

  3. chocolatesuze said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 10:27 am

    heh fire is indeed a beautiful thing… and hey one can never have too many tiers! wish i lived in your apartment block =D

  4. brilynn said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 11:32 am

    I love my kitchen torch! And that cake looks amazing!

  5. Christie @ fig&cherry said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 12:34 pm

    Yes! Glad to see your solidarity in my lemon loving week! I’m adding this to my recent What To Do With…Lemons post.

  6. Vera said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

    What a wonderful cake! And what lucky neighbors!

  7. Sophie said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

    First off, I love the “rambo” part of this entry :D. Secondly, your cake looks so darn pretty, like it was hand painted. Thirdly, I am so jealous of your lemon curd making skills! Last time I tried making it, the yolks scrambled on me in the oven (the recipe said to cook the curds over the stove then bake…does that seem a little strange to you?). I’ll be back for seconds, thirds, fourths…your blog is always awesome!

  8. Lorraine E said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

    I am too chicken to really wield the blowtorch with any authority! So I am the opposite of Rambo. Looks great!

  9. grace said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

    martha rambo stewart, nice to meet you. you do good work.
    i personally avoid fire–it tends to get ugly. 🙂

  10. Y said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

    Thank you, guys! I wish you all lived in my apartment block – what a party it would be all the time! Well.. maybe only some of you could live nearby, otherwise feeding the lot of ye would be another full time job! 😀

  11. Aran said,

    July 19, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

    i love my blow torch too… and i love how meringue looks burnt. Lovely!

  12. nina said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 2:15 am

    I use my torch a lot, but never thought of covering the whole cake – amazing!!!!

  13. Mable said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 3:28 am

    Hahaha that’s funny. I can’t imagined Rambo could ever make such a masterpiece. Like Nina, I’m amaze that you can use a torch on a cake. Job well done. I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks.

  14. Sarah Bell said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 5:11 am

    Right that’s it! I am coming round to your house right now, you better save me a piece!

  15. Katie said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 10:31 am

    That looks incredible! I’m hungry for lemon cake now…

  16. J for Kitchen Confit said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 11:02 am

    Oh My! I think I am in heaven. This looks fabulous. I can’t wait to wield my torch.

  17. Mandy said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

    oh man, that is one stunning cake! Love the idea of incorporating yuzu juice, but there isn’t any sold in my city. 🙁 How I wish I was your neighbor.

  18. Tartelette said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

    I love the look of burnt meringue and I love using my blowtorch too…the big model makes me feel oh so powerful!! Love yuzu curd tarts, such a nice change from lemon. I am sure that both would be wonderful in this cake!

  19. Miri said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

    I too love fire very much, and regret not using my blowtorch more often 🙂 The cake looks marvelous!

  20. peabody said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

    That cake looks fanastic…and anytime you can bring out the torch it’s a good thing!

  21. Christy said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

    Oh yeah!! Pity I’m not one of your neighbours… And yes, I feel mighty and important too when I’m wielding my blowtorch.

  22. Lisa said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

    I’ve been eyeing off the lemon meringue cake from the Tartine cookbook, but I think yours looks even prettier!

  23. linda said,

    July 20, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

    He he…blowtorching the whole cake! Sounds like great fun to do! Looks good too!
    My birthday is coming up and I asked my boy friend to get me a blowtorch. Thought he might like something a little more manly to buy….but doesn’t though. He doesn’t really like giving me kitchen gadgets even though they are pretty much the only things I enjoy getting 😉

  24. Y said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 12:06 am

    Thanks again for the comments 🙂 Anyone who was planning to come over for a slice, you’re too late! The last slab disappeared last night between the two of us. It was still delicious, and I’ve decided that it’s definitely a must-make-again kind of cake.

    Lisa: Oh yeah I’ve seen that cake in the Tartine book! Love that book too 🙂

    Linda: You know, you can get blowtorches from the hardware store, so it turns out to be a pretty manly purchase afterall!

  25. Naama said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 12:39 am

    such a pretty cake! I wish I had a kitchen torch…

  26. Tarah said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 1:14 am

    Such a gorgeous cake! You leave me speechless! Now I want to blowtorch a whole cake as well!

  27. Helen said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 2:08 am

    God that looks amazing. Oh, to be your neighbour…..

  28. Graeme said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 2:08 am

    There is simply no better cake than one that contains as much lemon as this one does. Everyone should try a slice of lemon meringue, at least once in their lifetime.

  29. cathy x. said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 3:46 am

    hahaha! oh how i wish that we lived in the same building! did i hear you say that you would willingly make it again? :O my birthday is coming up this week 😛 it looks like you have amassed quite a few fans! did i mention my birthday is this week? ..yuzu..? now there’s something i really should try..

  30. Cakespy said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 5:09 am

    It’s like you took the best of pie and cake, made it have an alley fight to challenge the best parts of each, and combined the strongest elements to find this gorgeous and delicious cake. Ohhhhhh my!

  31. Indigo said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 7:43 am

    …I don’t think I have the words to express how much I want this. I just really, really want this.

    I think I’d better leave before I embarrass myself.


  32. ELRA said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

    I love the combination of lemon curd and cake. Sounds so delice!

  33. the caked crusader said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

    I have a blowtorch but – and this sounds pathetic, I know – I’ve always been too scared to use it! Your cake looks fab and if anything can make me confront my feebleness this could well be it!

  34. cakebrain said,

    July 22, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

    geez, woman…you’re talented! Look at that beautiful cake! I love the blowtorch too and have brought it out even when I didn’t really need to just ’cause it’ cool and fun!

  35. Patricia Scarpin said,

    July 22, 2008 @ 11:55 pm

    That cake is absolutely gorgeous! I love how you decorated it!

  36. matt wright said,

    July 23, 2008 @ 2:35 am

    Talk about an amazing looking cake. I never seen meringue look this good!

  37. Bonbon Oiseau said,

    July 23, 2008 @ 3:10 am

    ohhh myyyy….that is beautiful. lemon anything is my weakness, lemon-poppyseed even better but especially a lemon meringue (with poppyseeds!) that looks this good!

  38. Jessica@Foodmayhem.com said,

    July 23, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

    wow, so sophisticated looking!

  39. Nick & Carolina said,

    August 4, 2008 @ 2:08 am

    What a delicious cake!

    Wow! the recipe looks so easy and the result is so beautiful.I’m more than ready for giving a try and with a little of luck mine can look a little so delicious as yours.
    I take this chance also for invitating you to visit our blog: http://members.lycos.nl/bearskitchen/

    We would love to listen your opinion about it.

    With greetings from The Netherlands.

    Nick & Carolina.

  40. W said,

    August 6, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

    Were you humming The Prodigy’s Firestarter whilst torching the massive meringue?

  41. Merle said,

    January 28, 2012 @ 6:46 am

    Can you provide us with the entire cake recipe? It looks wonderful!

  42. Y said,

    January 28, 2012 @ 7:00 am

    Hi Merle, I may have to attempt to make this cake again at some point before posting a recipe. It’s been a long while and I never kept record of what sponge I used!

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